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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 November, 2004, 16:25 GMT
Barroso promises strong EU team
Jose Manuel Barroso, head of the European Commission
Barroso says he supports his commissioners 100%
The new head of the European Union's executive has vowed his Commission will be independent, credible and strong.

Jose Manuel Barroso says he fully supports his new team of 25 commissioners and was critical of the "fashion" of targeting them for attack.

Mr Barroso has faced a bumpy ride to Brussels, forced to reshuffle his line-up and to rebuff calls for the resignation of a commissioner.

He told the future EU policymakers they would have to stand up to such attacks.

"In a Europe of 25, the role of the commission and the community method are more important than ever," he said in a speech at the College of Europe in Bruges.

Full support

Mr Barroso once again defended Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot who came under fire last week for failing to reveal to the European Parliament that he had faced an earlier conviction for embezzlement of party funds.

REVISED COMMISSION TEAM
Out:
Rocco Buttiglione (Italy)
Ingrida Udre (Latvia)
In:
Franco Frattini (Italy)
Andris Piebalgs (Latvia)
Moved:
Laszlo Kovacs (Hungary) from Energy to Taxation

The sentence, part of a broader investigation into political funding in France in the 1990s, was quashed by a presidential amnesty.

In an interview with the Belgian newspaper, La Libre Belgique, he said:

"I support all my commissioners 100%. Mr Barrot has my full support, he will be an excellent commissioner."

The Commission is already starting work three weeks late due to a previous row.

Mr Barroso had to withdraw his original line-up last month after some lawmakers in the European Parliament objected to Italian nominee Rocco Buttiglione's outspoken views on women and homosexuality.

Hungary's socialist nominee, Laszlo Kovacs, was also reshuffled to the taxation and customs job and Latvia replaced its candidate.


SEE ALSO:
Q&A: EU Commission row
18 Nov 04 |  Europe
EU row candidate stands down
30 Oct 04 |  Europe
At-a-glance: EU commissioners
21 Oct 04 |  Europe


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